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Effective Treatment for Shoulder Pain

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Adhesive Capsulitis, more commonly referred to as Frozen Shoulder, is a debilitating condition that affects a significant portion of the population, particularly those between the ages of 40 and 60.
It's characterized by a progressive loss of shoulder motion accompanied by pain. At Superior Physical Therapy (Traverse City, MI), our goal is to alleviate discomfort and restore your shoulder's natural range of motion.

Anatomy and Pathophysiology of Frozen Shoulder

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with an extensive range of motion. The joint capsule, a soft tissue envelope, surrounds and protects the intricate structures of the shoulder. In Frozen Shoulder, this capsule thickens, contracts, and limits the joint space, causing pain and restricted movement.

Shoulder Pain

Stages of Adhesive Capsulitis

  1. Freezing Stage: Gradual onset of pain that worsens over time and leads to decreased range of motion.
  2. Frozen Stage: Pain may begin to diminish, but the shoulder becomes stiffer, and daily activities become challenging.
  3. Thawing Stage: The range of motion starts to improve, but full recovery might take months to years.

Potential Causes and Risk Factors

  • Hormonal Imbalances: Women undergoing menopause are at a higher risk.

  • Chronic Diseases: Conditions like diabetes, tuberculosis, and heart disease can increase susceptibility.

  • Shoulder Trauma: Previous shoulder surgery or injury can trigger the condition.

  • Genetic Predisposition: Some evidence suggests a familial predisposition.

Shoulder Pain Causes

Diagnosing Shoulder Pain

A comprehensive examination will need to be performed to find the exact cause of shoulder pain. Doctors will check for swelling, tenderness, physical abnormalities, and muscle weakness. Your shoulder’s range of motion and strength will also be observed.

In some cases, specific imaging tests may be performed. These include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, arthrograms, arthroscopy, and electrical studies.

Applied Functional Science: The Gray Institute Approach

Harnessing the principles of Applied Functional Science (AFS), we adopt a holistic approach to treat Frozen Shoulder. AFS allows us to understand the intricate biomechanics of the shoulder and tailor treatments accordingly.


Benefits of AFS in Treating Adhesive Capsulitis

  • Comprehensive Assessment: AFS provides a thorough biomechanical analysis, ensuring a precise diagnosis and targeted treatment.

  • Functional Rehabilitation: Exercises are designed to mimic daily activities, ensuring practical and effective rehabilitation.

  • Patient Education: Patients are educated about their condition, empowering them to actively participate in their recovery journey.

  • Long-term Results: AFS not only focuses on immediate relief but also on preventing recurrence by addressing the root cause.

Check out this video of Shoulder Pain relief strategies: https://youtu.be/7fgSDXocEV0


We have online courses and a number of books (including one on Shoulder Pain Relief) available for Free by Clicking Here.

Our AFS Approach in Superior Physical Therapy

Upon your visit, our therapists will conduct a detailed assessment of your shoulder's functionality. This includes understanding your daily activities, pain patterns, and movement restrictions. Post-assessment, a personalized rehabilitation plan is crafted, focusing on restoring mobility, strength, and function.


Our commitment extends beyond just treatment. We provide continuous support, ensuring you regain confidence in your shoulder's capabilities.

  • Full-body Movement Assessment

    The most important element of healing is identifying the cause. The cause is a movement disorder somewhere else in the body that is creating more stress in the injured area than the tissue can handle. A full body movement assessment is the most important aspect in finding the true cause. This involves assessing how mobile and stable the areas above and below the injured tissues are.  Once the dysfunctional areas are identified the physical therapist can then prescribe home treatments to fix the problem areas. 

  • Hands-on Therapy with Movement

    In order to improve motion in the dysfunctional areas that are causing the increased stress on the painful injured tissues the most effect way to make a change in the body is to have a physical therapist use their hands to facilitate the proper motion while you are moving at the same time. This helps improve the path the body takes in order to reduce stress and tenson on the injured area. 

  • Prescriptive Home Exercise Program

    The Superior Method aims to educate patients on how the body moves to safely ease pain and restore function.

    With our smartphone app called Movement RX, we empower patients with the knowledge and tools needed to attain long-term physical freedom. All of the instructions provided by your physician will also be video-recorded and sent directly to your email or mobile device.

  • Applied Functional Science

    This principles-based method is designed to improve how the mind, body, and spirit work together to facilitate complete healing. All Superior Physical Therapy providers are Fellows of Applied Functional Science through the Gray Institute. This organization is led by the reputable physical therapist, Dr. Gary Gray.

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  • Deep Muscle Stimulation

    Mechanical vibrations that penetrate deep into the muscle tissue enable tissue regeneration and improve the lactic cycle, which is one of the most common causes of pain. The procedure also helps boost circulation and lymphatic flow to alleviate pain.

  • McKenzie Therapy

    The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® (MDT) is a distinguished and internationally researched method of diagnosis and treatment for spinal and extremity musculoskeletal conditions. Created by New Zealand Physiotherapist Robin McKenzie, this system has been used globally for over 60 years.

    MDT-certified clinicians assess and treat all types of musculoskeletal disorders including complications in the spine, muscles, tendons, and extremity joints.

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    Treatment Specialist for Frozen Shoulder in Traverse City

    Experience the difference of a comprehensive, patient-centric approach. To explore how Applied Functional Science can expedite your recovery from Adhesive Capsulitis, connect with our expert team. Schedule a consultation by calling (231) 944-6541  or send us an email through this form.

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    Contact Information
    Office Hours: 
    7am - 7pm Monday to Friday
    Superior Physical Therapy (West) 
    3899 West Front St., 
    Traverse City, MI 49684
    Superior Physical Therapy & Spine Center (Central) 
    722 Munson Ave, Traverse City, MI 49686
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